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Aggressive and assertive boys


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#1 marcbloch

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 06:54 PM

All,

 

My son is in a Webelos den made up of two very different kinds of boys.  One group is more of what I would call "normative," the other group is what I would call hyper-competitive.  They are drawn to sports, and are as you would expect good athletes.  But the real problem is that they turn EVERYTHING into a competition.  Who is the tallest.  Who is the fastest.  Who is the best kicker. Who is the best basketball shot.  You name it...they will make a competition out of it.  The problem is that "normative" boys typically want to have fun, and don't feel an urge to compete all the time.  So the two groups often break on this point.

 

I have watched this den as a CubMaster for the last few years, and it is very disheartening in a way.  They always want to break into groups to do things, they always want to pick teams to do things, and while they include all the boys, their attitude is very off putting.  These kids are not being kids...they are extremely aggressive and assertive, and it comes out in their interactions with den and pack leaders.  

 

Im not sure what to tell the den leader about this group.  The boys who are normative just want to do things for fun, and don't particularly want to compete all the time.  If they hike, they just want to hike, not see who gets to the top of the hill first.  

 

Any ideas out there on how to both keep the assertive boys interested in scouting while trying to impress upon them that there is more to life than competition?


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#2 fred johnson

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 08:43 PM

I don't want to take this on a tangent, but I think it's a great question.  Those of us with "trained" patches get no where near enough training on how to deal or advise on things like this.  I really wish there was more well done training on things like this.  

 

Beyond this, I have some ideas, but I'll pass to see what others say.  


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#3 marcbloch

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 09:01 PM

I don't want to take this on a tangent, but I think it's a great question.  Those of us with "trained" patches get no where near enough training on how to deal or advise on things like this.  I really wish there was more well done training on things like this.  

 

Beyond this, I have some ideas, but I'll pass to see what others say.  

 

Thanks...I agree on your comment.  This is a really tough issue.


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#4 MattR

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 09:26 PM

It looks to me like there are two issues. One is some of the scouts are very competitive while others are not. The other is that some scouts, in this case the competitive ones, are very aggressive and assertive.

 

First, the competitive and non competitive scouts. I would not try to make the competitive scouts less so, or the non competitive scouts more so. That's who they are. Some people would rather challenge themselves than compete with other people. There are different ways that people motivate themselves. By the time they're 16 you'll likely be happy with any way at all to motivate them :) Anyway, I'd treat them individually and see what works. If they want to split then let them. The challenge is to keep ahead of them and provide enough opportunities to each style.

 

The second issue is something I'd put my foot down on. I don't care how a scout motivates himself, he can not do so at the expense of disrespecting the Scout Oath and Law. There's an idea in scouting called reflection that might help here. After every event each group of scouts, in this case a den, talks about what went right, what went wrong, and what they'd like to change in the future. While the scouts want to talk about things it's really good to get them to talk about the Scout Law, or how the scouts interacted with each other. The challenge for the den leader is to keep the discussion from getting personal. Telling a scout he's a loser because he doesn't want to compete is not acceptable because you can't tell some kid he's a loser, it has nothing to do with competition. Some scouts want to compete and some don't and that's fine. If you want to compete then politely ask around to find someone you want to compete with.

 

As for aggressive behavior towards adults, that's also not acceptable. Make clear boundaries and consequences. And treat all the scouts the same.


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#5 Back Pack

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 06:48 AM

Find a skill the competitive boys don't know but the normal kids do. Have them teach it to the competitive boys.

The DL needs to remind the boys that it's not a competition. It's about having fun.

Being the best knot tying scout has never come up when using my knot skills. You either know it or you don't.
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#6 Eagledad

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 07:45 AM

MattR said it perfectly. I wish I could add more to stroke my ego, but he squelch any thunder I had on the subject.

 

To support MattR, we are who we are and changing that runs against nature. Much easier to work with the nature of each of our abilities. The adults goal is to build moral decisions makers by using the oath and law as guidelines. If you do only that much with those boys, my experience is that it will work out.

 

I have a petty good reputation for building productive teams. But in truth, I learned that skill later in life when the humility of my failures beat down my pride. Who doesn't want a team where the aggressive member pushes the team to max performance while the calm member insures a quality product. I think back at our Patrol Leaders who courageously took on the challenge of balancing a patrol of athletes along side their severely learning disabled patrol brothers. I would like to take credit for their success, but in truth, I think I would have failed. I can't remember if the the Patrol Leader earned the Eagle, but the learning disabled scouts did. 

 

I love this scouting stuff.

 

Barry


Edited by Eagledad, 22 May 2017 - 07:47 AM.

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"Experience is the hardest teacher. It gives the test first, then the lesson."


#7 Stosh

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 07:49 AM

MattR makes excellent sense.  These are the things I do with the more aggressive/competitive scouts.  The Scout Oath states, "Help OTHER PEOPLE at all times."  Competitive people tend to focus on self and this leads to more competitive and aggressive behavior in task management and a lousy leader. 

 

While both categories can be self focused, neither will promote a good quality leader.  One needs to focus on working to help OTHERS be successful, not just oneself.  I have found that the Buddy System works well in promoting leadership.

 

If anyone out there is familiar with the western chuck wagon races held in Cheyenne WY and Calgary AB, they have a team consisting of a chuck wagon with driver, and 4 outriders that load the chuck wagon and it's horses at the start.  Once the bell goes off, they outriders load the wagon, release the wagon horses, mount their horses and follow the wagon around a 1 mile track.  Even if your wagon crosses the finish line first, it doesn't count unless all your outriders do too.

 

If the boys like to be competitive, that's great, but they need to heavily focus on getting everyone on the team together.  Games that promote teamwork are great at this.  8 boys (patrol) against 8 boys in a knot tying competition.  Each one has to tie a certain knot.  PL needs to assign the knots according to what boy does best with each knot.  The winner is when the last boy finishes his knot.  If a team loses, either they rearrange the knot tiers or they help the slowest boy get better...as a team.

 

One needs to capitalize on the behavior and not fight it.  After the knots, they move on to the next, First Aid and do the same thing, each boy is responsible for part of the success and the last one finished determines the win.  If the PL is the best at one thing, he's probably not the best at everything and in order to win, he has to lead all his boys in order to do so.


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Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#8 blw2

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 10:06 AM

as a parallel, I have see these aggressive types push their ideas and choices so strongly....and carry in a majority rules mentality...that the "others" can get left out in a hurry.

 

so

one idea is to try to find ways of encouraging consensus rather than win/loose


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#9 marcbloch

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 11:19 AM

Thanks to all of you for your quick replies.  This is all very encouraging.


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#10 NJCubScouter

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 03:13 PM

Thanks to all of you for your quick replies.  This is all very encouraging.

 

Encouraging?  Well, it's nice to see someone with a positive outlook on life.  :)


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#11 Stosh

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 03:42 PM

There's always two choices in everything in life.  One can see the downer side of agressive boys, or one can see a go-getter that if channeled correctly can do some pretty amazing things.  It always reminds me of the letter Tomas Edison's mom got from his teachers at school.  It's a pretty good reason to look on the bright side of things and not let it get you down.


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Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#12 SSScout

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Posted 23 May 2017 - 03:00 PM

Scouting is not about who is the better Scout  

Scouting is all about how an individual Scout is better than he was before.

 

I like concentrating on  Patrol teamwork .


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#13 SSF

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Posted 29 May 2017 - 05:19 PM

Competition is part of scouting - Klondike Derby, Camporees and every summer camp I've attended has always concluded with some kind of camp wide competition.


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#14 qwazse

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Posted 29 May 2017 - 08:31 PM

Competition is part of scouting - Klondike Derby, Camporees and every summer camp I've attended has always concluded with some kind of camp wide competition.

Good point @SSF. But at the Webelos level, we're trying to build sportsmanship so that they will be prepared to use completions to build fellowship, not isolate the disadvantaged.
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#15 SSScout

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 05:51 PM

SSF:  What you say is true, but remember, it is PATROL competition (I HOPE !!), not individual Scout... 


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